After this morning’s less than optimistic posting, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m going to sit here and rip apart Saturday’s effort for making such a post necessary in the first place. And while there’s certainly a lot of bad to highlight about the game – The increasinngly poor decisions of Ross Evans, Anson Kelton, our terrible students rushing the field, our defense illustrating homo-sapien qualities, Ross Evans, again – I’m going to take the opposite approach here. I’m going to put on a happy face, tighten up my homer trousers, and spin this into one of the more positive learning experiences of the year. It’s just what I do. So with the specter of the Las Vegas Bowl looming over our shoulders, here goes the Week 11 recap.
We Clinched a Share of the MWC Title. Well, I had to lead it off with the hollowest victory of all, didn’t I? But, the fact remains that we can’t reach our ultimate goal of winning a national title without first winning the conference, and we essentially did just that Saturday night. And actually, didn’t we win it outright? I mean, I understand if Utah wins out and we somehow lose next week, we would both have one conference loss, but wouldn’t we get it because of the tie breaker? And surely losing badly to a team who lost to Navy and Tulsa on back to back weeks eliminates you from any sort of title discussion, no?
We sent Amon G out with a Win. An even smaller victory, but a victory nonetheless. You definitely don't want to pull a Dallas Cowboys with the whole Texas Stadium thing.
The Senior Class tied Last Year’s Group for the Most Wins in School History with 42. No explanation necessary here, that’s just good work. Expect that record to fall next weekend.
Even when his accuracy is off, Andy Dalton is still pretty fuggin’ good. He may have started slow – did he get re-engaged after the first quarter?- tossed the crappiest INT of his career, and have only been 21/36 … but he still tossed 4 TDs and is more or less the reason we won this game. Of course, Jeremy Kerley would have something to say about that – his first TD of the game was pretty much the definition of a “Kerley Play” and you got the feeling that after that the game was going to take on a different look – but I still would give the nod to AD as the player of the game. Of course, people are still going to find ways to complain about this – “what, he couldn’t even hit his ridiculous average of 66% for the game? That guy sucks” – but that’s just what we’ve come to expect from our wishy washy fanbase, none moreso than Section U and the SHAMELESS way they detached themselves from the game Saturday. Lyle and bucknasty know what I’m talking about. You could've electrified those seats and they wouldn't have left them. This wouldn't have been as big of a deal, except the ENTIRE home side was standing for the bigger plays of the game, and you know they're about as averse to standing as Texas is to scoring touchdowns this year. Very, very poor.
But back to Dalton - I BARELY missed his senior day introduction, but I hear he got a pretty remarkable ovation, as he should have. The Star-Telegram ran a pretty great article about him the morning of the game that is a must read for anyone who calls their self a fan. For a kid who split reps his junior year and only had scholarship offers to UTEP and Memphis to end up as the current winningest QB in the NCAA is basically like a Disney story, except an R rated one when you add in Patterson and Bumpas to the screenplay. I'm sure everyone is excited to see Pachall, and I have no doubt he can be very good, but I think Dalton is going to be remembered as the most underrated player in TCU history a few years down the road. Stay gold, Pony Boy.
Even Without Ed Wesley, Our Ground Game Still Dominates. Ed Wesley rushed one time on Saturday afternoon before having to take a seat with a leg injury. No matter, Waymon James and a suddenly rejuvenated Matthew Tucker combined for 45 carries and 233 yards. Tucker was especially fun to watch blast through the line and run over linebackers like they were paper tigers. And I mean literally like pieces of paper crafted into the shape of tigers and placed in a defensive front. And Waymon James continues to impress week after week – my assessment of his game was as follows, “I could beat Waymon James in a tall contest, but he could beat me in arm wrestling” and that’s pretty much how he plays, like a gravity challenged battering ram. I’m far too lazy to look it up, but I have to imagine those were career highs in carries for each in the game and they did a great job of knocking the Aztecs defense off kilter and setting up the pass for the man listed above. It's going to hurt losing Kerley, Young and Dalton off of next year's offense, but our ground game, with the addition of Dwight Smith, is going to be better than ever.
I Never Have to Listen to Techno Music Again. Or at least not for a long time. Seriously, kids in Lot 3 who took over the space down the row from me – the techno music is fucking GARBAGE. No one likes it. No one wants to hear it. No one enjoys it. I understand how it is; you’re in college and your dad bought you a tailgate spot. I’ve had mine since I was a then junior, I understand how that whole thing works. And I appreciate the efforts you’ve made there, but the 150 decibels of Jersey Shore soundtrack rejects is not working out. And when everyone else who has had spots in the lot since you were in middle school asks you to turn the music down, don’t tell them to fuck off and crank it even louder. There’s a difference between having a good time and being an asshole and you crossed the line. Props on keeping it frat with the ice block Saturday, but the techno garbage has to go.
Also, props to the oaf who talked shit to my wife and almost incited a riot when he managed to turn the entire parking lot against him. Note for the future: when you’re arguing for the music to be louder, and the kid who owns the speakers and is picking the tunes disagrees with you, then that’s an argument you’ve lost there, big guy.
And did you see the riff raff it was attracting? I’m all for T shirt fans, but I also want my hubcaps to still be on my car when I come out after the game.
Also, hey you damned kids, stay off my lawn!
Jeremy Kerley Quietly Putting Together A Record Season. Well, not necessarily quietly, but I think we’re all focusing a lot on his lack of special teams touchdowns and overlooking how much he has improved overall as a wide receiver in this offense. Kerley had three scores on the day, but none more important than the one mentioned above on 4th and 4 with the Frogs down by 14 in the first quarter. With his 8th, 9th and 10th TDs of the year, he has tied Mike Renfro’s school record for a single season and, if I were a betting man, I’d say he clinches it in Albuquerque. I was actually operating part of the year thinking Kerley was still a junior - I'm good with names, but I am not good with hometowns and eligibility - and it was like learning that there is no Santa Claus when lyle corrected me on his age. He will be sorely missed next year and I hope he fares well at the next level.
The Run Defense is Still There. Despite the absence of DEUX starters Stanlsy Maponga and Kelly Griffin, the Frogs run D only surrendered 54 rushing yards to the #1 running back in the conference, Ronnie Hillman. In fact, overall the Frogs only gave up 38 net yards on the ground. This will be severely overlooked due to the final score, but it’s worth making note of here. The passing D is going to be all sorts of maligned by the national pundits after surrendering 167 yards to Vincent Brown – shockingly enough, I believe the two TDs were on Jason Teague, easily the biggest gains he’s given up this year – but they should get as much credit as anyone for holding the Aztecs to 1 first down and 100 yards until the fourth quarter.
Offensive Line Coach Eddie Williamson is Going to be OK. Early in the game, kerleys turned to me and said, “My brother just sent me a text that said our O line coach had a heart attack,” to which I replied, “Yeah, it was probably after that third false start.” Except it turned out he REALLY did have a heart attack, and then I felt bad. Fortunately he was able to walk off and is apparently in stable condition at the hospital and will be fine, but I can’t imagine anyone in the stadium didn’t have flashbacks to Jim Pittman.
The Continuing Redemption of Greg McCoy. Of course, I’m talking about his interception because, are you KIDDING ME??? Considering he caught it directly in front of Section V, we had the best vantage point in the house to watch him pull it in, but there are receivers who wouldn’t have made that catch. The way he was able to stay on his feet long enough to roll it off of his hip and tuck it in before hitting the ground was sensational. I also can’t recall him getting beat on any throws of note as he for once outshined his counterpart across the field. It also helps when you have TeJay Johnson playing center field.
Curtis Clay’s Return. I didn’t know whether to put this under the negatives or positives category, but considering how quiet and overshadowed Clay has been this year, it was great to see him get an opportunity and very nearly make the most of it. Of course, he stumbled over his feet with only the punter to beat, so it wasn’t to be, but he’s one of the class acts of the team and hopefully that run will help folks remember how vital he’s been to the team in years past.
I’m taking the Anti-ESPN Approach and Lauding our Perseverance. Think about it – You’re the #3 team in the country, you’re playing in your last home game in front of a sold out crowd and Rose Bowl reps, you’re playing in the last home game at your stadium in its current form in front of 400 Lettermen, your family and friends are there because it’s senior day, you’re playing without several starters including your leading running back and receiver who went down during the game, and you’re coming off a 40 point win the biggest regular season game in school history. Oh yeah, and your offensive line coach may have died, you really do not know because it’s not like you can call the hospital and ask when you’re in the middle of a game. I’d say it’s a fair assessment to say that the players had a few distractions to cope with out there Saturday. And despite going down by 14 early, they still immediately ran up a 20 point lead and won the game despite a late push from a talented team. Call me old fashioned, but I’d say that’s a pretty damned good win. But I forget, we didn’t blow out a team that’s 1-4 in the WAC or sneak by a team who is 5-5. Guess you just can’t make everyone happy.
Perfect Time For a Bye Week. Given, we should and probably would be able to beat New Mexico with our scout team, but you can’t deny that this is an ideal time to catch a break as far as injuries are concerned. The O line has been banged up all year, Stansly Maponga is down, as is Kelly Griffin, Wesley has been hurting, and we lost Kerley and Josh Boyce during the game, although I’m pretty sure their injuries are not too severe. Alex Ibiloye has missed time as well. If we are to make a BCS game or even a national championship, having these guys healthy is going to be absolutely vital to our chances. New Mexico shouldn’t be anything more than a tune up, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a lot of back ups making the rotation early and often just to make sure everyone is fresh and ready down the road… although if you can’t get fresh and ready in the month+ between the end of the season and a major bowl, then perhaps you’re too injured and shouldn’t be playing anyway.
Ugh, even after that writing that I’m still depressed about this game. We bitch about the double standard all the time, but this game just proved how ridiculous of a standard the have nots are held to in comparison to the 61 haves. I mean, why can’t Boise AND TCU be automatically included? Did you know there’s a rule where the #3 team in the BCS gets an automatic bid if they did not win their conference? And if that school DID win their conference, that it goes to the 4th ranked team? In this case, TCU would receive the non-AQ auto bid and Boise would receive the 4th place team auto bid… oh yeah, except it only applies to the BCS schools. So only one of us gets in for sure. How bullshit is that? Any sport where the 4th ranked team doesn’t get invited to be involved in the post season in a major way is almost not worth being a fan of. Seriously, there are people out there who HATE college football because of the BCS system, and while I’m always like, “Yeah, but that’s just because you weren’t smart enough to go to college,” perhaps they’re really onto something. I just know that if TCU misses out this year and then remains in the MWC, I’m going to be harder and harder pressed to muster up enthusiasm year after year when it continually comes down to us and Boise for one spot. Then again, at least we’ll have an elimination game, so I suppose that’s a particular brightside. Death to the BCS, indeed. Ugh, kill me.